Sunday, August 10, 2008

Russia's Latest War Could Impact The U.S.

Motorists this week could wake up to some sharply increased oil prices once again as war between Russia and the much smaller pro-Western Republic of Georgia worsens and impacts nearby oil supplies to Europe and the U.S. And the pro-Western government of Georgia draws the U.S. ally into a dangerous neo-Cold war type conflict with Russia, potentially drawing the U.S. into a difficult position. The U.S. needs to be a balanced player here, seen as promoting the peace and restraint on both sides and nor helping to fuel further fighting in the region.

Georgia has a military of just 37,000 soldiers, but has announced plans to withdraw 2,000 peacekeepers from Iraq to join the fight which is hardly good news to the U.S. or any nation wanting to see this conflict soon end. Georgia has just 230 tanks and 12 combat aircraft. By comparison Russia could throw it's huge weight of 1.1 million soldiers, 6,000 tanks and 1,700 combat aircraft at the conflict and quickly crush the proU.S. government in Georgia if it desires to do so and the U.S. could watch it's ally smashed to pieces within days. Yet any American involvement in the situation other than urging a ceasefire and peace is absolutely dangerous. There is really little that the U.S. can do here. The U.N. will Security Council will meet for a third time and urge an end to the fighting that has already left more than 2,000 dead.

If anything, it was alarming at how quickly Russia moved in with major military force to attempt to resolve a situation that they did have a legitimate role to be peacekeepers in. But it is the extreme amount of force used so far and the amount of destruction that is so alarming to the world community.

The world community should have the full right to expect a return to peace very soon and hope that this situation does not spread in the region and involve new players or draw in the west on one side of the conflict and Russia on the other. Such a situation could spin out of control and become most dangerous to world peace.


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